Plate owner found! Sister Hannah (no, she's not a nun) left me a vmail today to say she saw her plate on the blog. I'm off the hook for delivering it by bike -- unless I want to ride to Iowa City. You know, if I had time I WOULD ride to Iowa City not just to prove a point (I can be pretty adamant about that sort of thing) but to get a few days away. I have been desiring a tour so much for the past few months, however it looks like the cards are not stacked favorably anytime soon for such investments of time.
Thanks, dear readers, for all the comments on and off the air over the past week. I count myself lucky to have a number of good friends and acquaintances who don't mind a little dissent sprinkled in their Wheaties. We're all better off for tempering our views through vitriolic heating and introspective cooling, y'know.
I've found myself a bit reclusive lately. Now, most folks might not even notice. It's just one of those things where I want to be alone on my commutes and not run into anyone I know; I want to sit by myself at the coffee shop -- that sort of thing. It's nothing against people, but I am an introvert. I never truly understood the implications of that until my dear April explained it. You see, I like people and I am pretty darned outgoing sometimes. But once upon a time a few years ago, when I seemed confused how I could be so social but always have thought myself introverted, April asked me a simple question: "Are your batteries charged by being with people or being alone?" The obvious, immediate answer was being alone. I can shut myself up in the bike shop for 5 or 6 hours on end focused on a project; I can sit at the keyboard immersed for hours on an essay; I can ride a solo century and never once miss conversation with another person (but rather wish I was about to camp and do it all over again the next day). Case closed.
But back on the topic of good discourse, even though I have not been in the mood for talking necessarily, circumstances have nudged me into a number of very pleasant and most unexpected conversations/encounters. The other evening at CRC I had a nice chat with LFOaB, Amy and Chloe. They're not from here either and we were enjoying immensely a discussion of the intricacies of "Minnesota Nice" behavior. That was a great talk, you all, and I am not just a bit unhappy that you are planning to leave Mpls soon.
Just yesterday I was at CRC again and happened to be sitting alone outside when Marlin from Shockspital rolled up on his Big Dummy. We said, "Hi." He got a drink, then came out to share a table and chat. I've been seeing Marlin around at the CRC, bike events and the like for the past 9 months or so. But we've never really had a conversation. On this occasion we talked bikes, shops and music a bit. I had never seen Shockspital World HQ across the street, so Marlin gave me the tour. Now, you can say what you like about that photo-swipin', shifty BRose, but he generally associates with quality folk. Marlin is no exception. You should meet the guy if you haven't (Marlin ... certainly not BRose).
You wanna know what one of the most encouraging things about this go-'round called 'life' is to me? Okay, maybe you don't, but too friggin' bad. It's stuff like what I just wrote above: it's the fact that there is always good stuff waiting in the wings -- cash on the sidewalk, a free beer at the bar, sunshine in a snowstorm, a smiling baby; good people ready to be met -- people you may think you know but have never really talked to; new things to experience -- places you think you've been but have never really seen. Me, personally, I wish (and always have) that I were more outgoing. Things work out for the most part, meaning I seem to forge bonds when the time is right. But you always have to stretch a bit, you have to put yourself out there. Put onesself out there ... what a thought.
The other beautiful thing that I have experienced over the past couple weeks: When I mention in casual conversation that we are moving in a couple of weeks so many people have said, "Let me know if you need some help." They might just be blowin' sunshine up my kilt (reference "MN Nice" above) but I have no doubt we'll easily assemble enough enthusiastic friends to get the job done. And the beer and food will help sway the less enthusiastic among them.
A couple of slight caveats: BRose is a stand-up dude. He and Julie (I suspect she does the REAL work) throw one hell of a bash every 4th of July. It's going down this Saturday and you should come. Yeah, that's actually June 28th, but you can get over it. I showed up smashed last year from a Surly growler ride and was still welcomed with open arms (mostly because I was hugging everyone). Second sidenote, I really do love Noren, even though my last post may have singled him out and seemed to rain down upon him with literary hell-fire. Go see his new blog. Shit, buy a frame from him. Here's the deal -- if you're bike savvy enough to know what you want/need he can build it for you. If you are still suckling at the bike breast and need someone else to sell you a cookie-cutter frame then perhaps sit on it a while. Do I own a Peacock Groove? No. Do I want to? Yes. Does April want me to? Never had that conversation, thank you. I have no stake in this, but I have a strong belief -- custom bike frame builders offer a service that is unparalleled and as more people take to bikes, that will be realized. Add to the simple pragmatics of consulting a frame builder the increased expense of shipping mass-marketed frames and whole bikes across the world and I believe the value offered by custom builders will be quickly realized in years to come. Food for thought, ye voices in the choir.
Sing a hymn for me,